Wilfred George Donkers, age 77, of Nerstrand, MN, died on August 2, 2019 at his home with his family nearby.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, August 10th at 10:30 a.m. at the Parker Kohl Funeral Home in Faribault, with Bernadette Tatge, pastoral minister at Divine Mercy Catholic Church, officiating. Interment will be at the Calvary Cemetery in Faribault, with military honors provided by the Rice County Central Veterans Association.
Memorial visitation will be at the Parker Kohl Funeral Home on Friday from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. and on Saturday for one hour prior to the services.
Wilfred leaves behind his wife of 56 years, Shelly (Rochelle) Donkers (Bergevin).
Born on November 29, 1941 in Medford, MN, Wilfred was the son of Martin Sylvester Donkers and Angela Marie Donkers (Keilen). Before going into the Navy, Wilfred worked on the pipelines in northern MN and elsewhere across the country. Wilfred served in the U.S. Navy where he was a sonar technician and served on ship and submarine. While in the service he traveled to places all over the world. When he came home from the service, he met his wife Shelly. They were married at Immaculate Conception Church in Faribault in 1963. Wilfred and Shelly had five children: Anne Marie, Steven James, John David, Christopher Todd, and Laura Anne.
Wilfred belonged to the Knights of Columbus and was employed at Telex in MN. In 1970 the couple decided to move their family to rural Nerstrand where they bought a farm. There, Wilfred lived with his family for 49 years, milking prized Holsteins, raising sheep, and pigs. Wilfred took his family to church every Sunday. He was a member of the Minnesota Holstein Association, and on the board of directors for the new Community Co-op Oil Association in Faribault.
Wilfred suffered from several conditions related to diabetes. Wilfred and Shelly decided to sell their cattle and equipment. Together they settled into retirement and spent time with their family and traveled. Wilfred continued to help on the farm wherever he could. He was a great father, not only to his family, but also to many young people throughout his life. He had a strong belief in the possibility and potential of everyone.
Wilfred is survived by his wife, Shelly (Rochelle) Donkers; his children, Anne and Gary Haynes and their son, Jakob Wolff; John and Nancy (Herda) Donkers, and their children, Sammi and Kendra, and John’s sons Justin and Andrew; Chris and Anne (Paquette) Donkers and their children, Alexander, Amanda, and Christina; and Laura and Darin Schuster; his 13 great grandchildren; his siblings, Marvin (Myrna) Donkers, Joseph (Iris) Donkers, Paul (Connie) Donkers, Teri (David) Quehl, Ralph (Barbara) Donkers, Jan (Larry) Vines, Karen (Jack) Ostrom, Ronald (Patty) Donkers, Angie (Stan) Eller, and Bruce (Mary) Perron; sister-in-law, Diane Donkers Olson (Jerry); and many other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his son, Steven James; his parents, Martin and Angela; and his brother, Cyril.